Treading along the green path
With an objective to contribute better towards nature, the always-awake entrepreneur inside Ramdev Rao resulted in conceptualising ‘Unique Trees’.
10% of budget must be for relocation of plants
With an objective to contribute better towards nature, the always-awake entrepreneur inside Ramdev Rao resulted in conceptualising ‘Unique Trees’. Started in the year 2010, Unique Trees, a nursery situated on the outskirts of the city, is spread over 500 acres and has become the largest privately owned nursery in India.
Right from his school days, Ramdev was fascinated by nature and its most beautiful gift, plants. As he grew up, he developed a great sense of social responsibility and a penchant to do his part for the environment. A great testimony of his social awareness and love for plants was when he recently translocated 250 old trees which were being cut as part of a road widening programme by civic bodies in the city, bearing all the costs. All the trees have survived and are currently being taken care of in the nursery owned by Ramdev.
Unique Trees has been involved in importing fully grown, exotic and rare varieties of trees from various parts of the world and to sell them in India.
The facility is home for imported trees of diverse varieties from countries like US, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Thailand, Australia etc. It has the largest collection of a rare variety of fully grown trees in the nursery ranging between 6 and 30 feet, some of which are 800-years-old. It deals with almost all varieties of rare palm trees like Phonenix Canariansis, Jubaea Chilensis, Trithrinax, Campestris, etc. The firm also deals in Topiary Ficus Trees, ancient olive trees, Italian Cyprus, Schizolobium Parahyba (Tower Tree), Adensonia, and Dracaena Draco, along with other exotic varieties.
Commenting on why he started the nursery, he said, “When I visited countries across the globe I noticed that my country lacked interest in turning environment friendly. It was startling for me to know that not only developed countries like the USA and the United Kingdom, but even developing countries like Malaysia and Thailand, had prioritised having nurseries across the country.”
He continued, “In India the total area allocated for nurseries is as much as 12,000-15,000 acres, while in the US it is over five lakh acres. I noticed this scenario and decided to make a difference.” His huge clientele includes actor Shah Rukh Khan, the Ambanis, sportstar Sachin Tendulkar, politician Sriramulu, and South Indian actors like Suriya, Karthi and even NTR Jr.
When asked, isn’t his concept very niche and urbane, he agreed, “Yes these are niche. But the country lacks the gardening culture and has not reached the lower income groups. But I am sure gradually it will. People will definitely develop gardens around their houses in the future.”
The city has great potential to be developed on eco-friendly lines. Most beautification projects are a part of these. But when it comes to pollution, it is no where behind. He opined, “Civic bodies must allot at least 1 per cent of its allocated budget for road widening or construction for translocation of plants. Back in the day, while I was volunteering to translocate 250 plants, the departments were keen on cutting down over 18,000 plants along the Vijayawada highway. The estimated budget of the project was Rs 2,800 crore. If the dept had allotted at least two crore for translocation, all those trees would not have been hacked.”
On the lines of reducing pollution and planting trees across the city, he said, “Every house should have a tree. And for multi-storeyed buildings, the radiation amount must be calculated and proportionate plantation must be done by the builders to make up for the carbon emission. It will not be a big deal, for a single tree can absorb CO2 emitted by 10 cars for 10 hours in a single day. So planting more trees will help.”